What you need to know
- Antitrust investigation by the Justice Department will focus on search platform.
- Google has faced multiple fines from EU in recent years for similar actions.
- A previous investigation in 2013 led to voluntary changes from Google.
Alphabet Inc.'s Google subsidiary is reportedly the target of an antitrust investigation by the US Justice Department, according to the Wall Street Journal. The full report is behind a paywall, but the summary notes that Google will be scrutinized for its dominating search platform and other businesses.
Google has been under a bit of pressure in this area, particularly in the EU. The EU has leveraged several fines against Alphabet Inc., including a whopping 4.34 billion euros (4.86 billion dollars) penalty for blocking rival software on its dominant Android platform. The EU is also investigating Alphabet Inc. for practices pertaining to local search results and Google Adsense, both of which maintain dominant positions in their respective markets. The EU is reportedly also investigating Google's mapping technologies, among other things, potentially preparing further antitrust cases against the search giant.
In the late 90s, Microsoft was famously slapped by the US Department of Justice and the EU for its own antitrust violations, which led to the "Choose your browser" pop-up in older operating systems, alongside a range of other rules Microsoft had to follow.
If the US Department of Justice finds that Google has been unfairly leveraging its dominant positions in search and other businesses to stifle competition, it could lead to severe consequences for the tech giant.
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